Know It All: What’s the Scientific Term for “Booger”?

You are intimately familiar with boogers; the two of you have shared many private moments. But did you ever care enough to learn their proper name?

Everybody has that moment when they realize they don’t know about something that they should probably know about. Whether it’s history, language, science, or cultural phenomena, you’ve felt the stinging personal embarrassment of a moment wherein you realize there’s some common knowledge that isn’t so common. Don’t feel bad; nobody knows everything. Nobody, that is, except me and my sidekick, The Internet!

Somewhere in the world, a confused soul begs the question…

What’s the scientific term for “booger”?

All the gross stuff related to our bodies has a scientific term attached to it. “Farts” are medically known as “flatulence”. “Poop” is actually “stool” or “feces” and “pee” is actually “urine”. So, what is the scientific term for “booger”?

Clearly the goo in your nose is known as “mucus” when it is in its natural viscous, liquid form. But what happens, linguistically, when that mucus has dried into a solid? When all those doctors get together and talk about medical things (as I’m sure they do, at their country clubs and whatnot), how do they refer to boogers? Is there some cool word we don’t know about?

Well, if the entire Internet is any indication… the answer is “no”. There is no cool scientific word for “booger”.

The closest we can come to official terminology is dried nasal mucus, a bit of boring, wordy nomenclature that is touted as official by the likes of Merriam-Webster.

Oh well. Maybe someday.

[Note: you may have encountered someone who claims “rhinolith” is the technical name for “booger”. This is wrong. A rhinolith is basically a kidney stone for your nose — it is not a booger.]

Now you know.

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook


  • Reply September 29, 2009

    Tamahome Jenkins

    Wow, a rhinolith…that sounds awful, lol. According to Answers, a booger is “An item that is unnamed or unnameable.” So if the medical community were to come up with a name, would we have to stop calling it a booger? 😉
    .-= Tamahome Jenkins´s last blog ..The Sad Story of Student Loans =-.

    • Reply September 29, 2009


      That’s such a funny definition. It sounds like something that would be in an ancient philosophy.

  • Reply September 29, 2009

    Blake @ Props Blog Ideas

    Tamahome – I wonder if that’s just one definition of booger? I think it’s pretty funny 🙂
    .-= Blake @ Props Blog Ideas´s last blog ..The Top 5 Make Money Sites You Should Visit =-.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by wahmsuzanne. wahmsuzanne said: RT @primermag Know It All: What’s the Scientific Term for “Booger”? […]

  • Reply June 2, 2010


    May I suggest the coinage “Xeromucous”?

  • Reply September 30, 2011


    In Asia we call it nose-shit

    • Reply December 14, 2013


      we call “eye boogers” eye-shit too

    • Reply April 7, 2017


      I’d say bull-shit on you.
      Asia is a big place and Asians don’t share one same language.

  • Reply December 2, 2011


    Nostril particles or nasal residue

  • Reply December 2, 2011


    What about nose dirt

  • Reply December 2, 2011


    I know nostril soil

  • Reply December 2, 2011


    Nasal metorites

  • Reply December 27, 2011


    Our ancient professor of these things called them “crusts.”

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Bill Smith

    I actually came looking for this answer. Now I am doubly disappointed to find that no one has a good answer.

    Might I suggest Latin (I am an expert), Eligosum. Literally, “That which is picked”. The plural would be eligosi.

    My final suggestion is caro-ab-nasus, or meat from the nose.

    Etymology is my life!!!

  • Reply June 5, 2012


    How ’bout “nasal debris”?

  • Reply September 11, 2013


    It’s called a nasal concretion. Lame, I know.

  • […] I tried to find a better term for it. Instead, what I did find,  is an entire blog post dedicated to there not being a scientific term for it. And there you have it folks, knowledge is […]

  • Reply April 21, 2017

    Patricia Blume

    You didn’t tell me b/c my questioned was: what is the scientific name for dried mucous in the nose?

  • Reply January 26, 2018

    skwashed tomatoes

    Due to the fact that most boogers,or bogeys as we call them in britain, are extracted whilst waiting at traffic lights I would suggest calling them luxplucks!

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